Maple Leafs chill out

A bundled up Tie Domi fires a shot during the Maple Leafs outdoor practice yesterday at Rennie Park...

A bundled up Tie Domi fires a shot during the Maple Leafs outdoor practice yesterday at Rennie Park in Swansea. The rumour mills have been turning, but the only move yesterday was Andy Wozniewski being called up from the Marlies. (Toronto Sun/Stan Behal)

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

Word of an impending roster move rippled through the crowd at Swansea's Rennie Park yesterday, where 300 bundled-up school kids braved biting icy winds to watch the Maple Leafs practise on an outdoor rink.

Did it involve Mats Sundin?

Nope. The captain was down there gliding around the ice in a Leafs uniform, a jersey general manager John Ferguson claims he'll be wearing for a long time.

Was it about Eric Lindros, who maybe suffered a setback and would be placed on long-term injured reserve?

Wrong again. In fact, The Big E could be close to returning after the removal the cast on his right wrist and subsequent MRI revealed, as Lindros predicted two weeks ago, that no surgery will be required.

Finally, the answer came when No. 56 emerged.

ANOTHER SHOT

It was none other than rookie defenceman Andy Wozniewski, who had been called up from the Marlies to replaced the concussed Carlo Colaiacovo.

It wasn't the big splash that many in the media were anticipating from Ferguson, who admitted that trade chatter is "heating up" throughout the league.

There have, in fact, been a number of inquiries concerning Sundin from a number of teams.

But listening to Ferguson, nothing is going to happen on that front.

"I have not brought his name up," Ferguson said. "I know there are a number of teams that certainly would value the services that he provides to us, as we do.

"He has done that for a long time and he will continue to do that for a long time. We're fortunate to have him. He's a tremendous leader for us and that leadership is going to help us get where we want to go."

Trading Sundin, he added, is "not in the game plan."

Even with his Leafs mired in a six-game losing skid, Ferguson insists this roster can reach the post-season, although he'll make a deal if a suitable one presents itself.

"We've got 82 games to make the playoffs, and that's definitely what we're planning to do," Ferguson said. "I do believe that we have a club that will qualify.

"That being said, we have no intention of making a short-term, Band-Aid deal that doesn't make sense for us going forward."

The biggest hole remains on the blue line, where the lack of depth was painfully exposed by the Ottawa Senators in back-to-back games Saturday and Monday.

Up front, the possible return of the Big E in the near future could inject some life into the struggling Leafs, who face the Buffalo Sabres tonight at the Air Canada Centre without Lindros, Darcy Tucker (ribs) and Bryan McCabe (groin) in the lineup. They hope to have at least one of those players back by next week.

"As long as his wrist responds when he starts practising again, he should be ready to go whenever he's fit and strong enough to go," Ferguson said of Lindros, who is awaiting the arrival of a special brace to aid his healing wrist.

In the meantime, Ferguson continues to field calls. Whether he can pull off a deal for a defenceman remains to be seen.

He certainly needs one.


Videos

Photos